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Metra Riders, Are You Ready for Today's Fare Hike?

Last year, Metra approved fare hikes to help cover a budget deficit attributed to diesel fuel prices, new federal regulations and higher insurance premiums for the company. Those increases go into effect this morning.

If you're headed to either of 's two train stations this morning, you'll want to bring a tad more cash than usual.

When Metra's Board of Directors approved its 2012 budget, it also approved increased fares that go into effect today, Feb. 1. The price hikes are across all ticket types.

According to the 2012 fare table, one-way tickets will increase an average of 15.7 percent across all fare zones, while 10-ride tickets will go up an average of 30 percent and monthly passes will increase an average of 29.4 percent.

Reduced fare one-way tickets will increase an average of 10.3 percent, reduced fare 10-ride tickets will increase an average of 18.9 percent and reduced fare monthly passes will go up an average of 10.8 percent.

Taken together, the overall average increase is 25.1 percent.

On Monday, Metra CEO and Executive Director Alex Clifford told the Chicago Tribune, the increase is necessary to "put Metra on a stable financial course."

"The additional revenue will help close a $53.6 million budget gap in 2012," reports the Chicago Tribune.

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What do the percentages mean for you? In Zone E, a single ride to the Lasalle Street Station—Zone A—will now cost $5.25. A monthly pass will cost $149.50. View the PDF attached to this article for a breakdown of all 2012 fares.

Metra's Board of Directors to plug the budget hole, but decided against it after elected officials sent , saying that such service cuts would “disenfranchise” commuters in the southwest suburbs.

How It's Affecting Our Readers

This issue got our Facebook fans chatting on Tuesday. Here's what they said:

  • Tami Bellin Kuipers: "I've been doing it for almost 7 years and it is still cheaper than me driving in and parking downtown. Quite a few of us 'regulars' now have family drop us off and pick us up at the station to save on monthly parking fees."
  • Julie Shaunnessey: "Oh no!!!! I forgot about that! I wish they would give the college kids a break!"
  • Nancy McKeon Emerson: "Oh gosh...thanks for the reminder! I think that all students including the college kids should get a discount."

New Lenox Local Editor Michael Sewall contributed to this report.

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PrettyAuntPatti February 01, 2012 at 01:02 PM
I suppose for some who work downtown, the fare hike is something we have to swallow. However, I would like to know why Metra continues to allow police, fire, Cook County Sheriff police, etc. to ride free when in uniform (or showing an ID). I simply do not understand that concept. I am guessing those people make no less than many others who have to take the train and it would certainly bring in some more income.
Old School February 01, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Patti, Police and Fire personnel do NOT get to ride for free (unless the conductor is deciding on his/her own to look the other way) but ON DUTY personnel are not charged when on the train as part of their business or job. Sure, it would be a nice perk and gesture on Metra's part, but it's not part of their policy. It's kinda like the old 7-Eleven perk of free coffee to uniforms, 'cause it's nice to have a little 'free' extra security on hand. Your point is well taken that if they ARE giving all uniformed persons a free ride, it's a little unfair to the rest of us, but it's really not all that much lost revenue in the long run.
Carrie Frillman February 01, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I haven't heard of this police/fire ride for free bit, either. Anyone else?

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